News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

December 13, 2018

PROVINCE ANNOUNCES PILOT RECRUITMENT EFFORTS FOR LIFEFLIGHT PROGRAM

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New Funding Also Authorized to Maintain Province's Jets: Schuler

Two new pilots will be recruited for Manitoba’s Lifeflight program and approximately $750,000 in work has been authorized to maintain the province’s two Citation jets, Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler announced today.

“Our government’s top priority is ensuring that safety and service standards remain high, and these steps will assure Manitobans that those standards will remain in place while the request for proposals process (RFP) proceeds,” Schuler said.  “We look forward to ongoing dialogue with stakeholders.”

The Lifeflight program represents a portion of the air ambulance program and has provided emergency medical response service to northern and remote communities in Manitoba since 1985.  Critical care or emergency physicians typically staff planes.

The program currently employs six pilots.  This staffing initiative by the provincial government will increase the total to eight.  

Earlier this year, government opened an RFP process to determine whether there are alternate ways to provide this service in a more cost-effective manner while maintaining current safety standards.  For a number of years, Lifeflight has delivered services using a combination of provincially owned jets and, increasingly, private carriers, with five currently licensed to provide this service.  Various factors contribute to the increased used of private carriers including maintenance requirements for the province’s jets and pilot availability.

“We have always said that we will not proceed with changes to the current service delivery model if the RFP does not result in an outcome that is at least as safe and efficient,” said Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen.  “We are committed to patient and provider safety.”

Both ministers noted a final determination on the RFP process is not expected for some time.  

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